RUSSIA BOMBS UKRAINE SCHOOL BEING USED AS SHELTER, MORE THAN 60 FEARED DEAD: Ukrainian officials said Sunday (May 8th) that more than 60 people were feared dead after Russian forces bombed a school a day earlier in the eastern village of Bilohorivka that was being used as a shelter. Authorities said there had been some 90 people shelting in the school’s basement and that while rescue crews pulled out 30 people and found two bodies, the governor of the Luhansk province wrote on Telegram, quote, “most likely all 60 people who remain under the rubble are now dead.”
Russian forces continued to try to take the sprawling steel mill that represents the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol, the southern city that has largely been reduced to rubble. The last of the civilians who’d been sheltering in the tunnels and bunkers under the plant were evacuated Saturday, but an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters have refused to surrender. The Russians may be pressing to fully capture the city for Russia’s Victory Day holiday and military parade, which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, giving President Vladimir Putin something to declare as a major victory.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrial democracies yesterday vowed to ban or phase out imports of Russian oil, and the U.S. announced new sanctions against Russia. They include barring Western advertising from Russia’s three biggest TV stations, banning U.S. accounting and consulting firms from providing services, and blocking wood products, industrial engines, boilers and bulldozers from Russia’ industrial sector.
Jill Biden Meets with Ukraine’s First Lady: First Lady Jill Biden met with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, in western Ukraine Sunday in a surprise visit. Biden told Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy‘s wife, “I wanted to come on Mother’s Day. I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.” Zelenska thanked Biden for what she called her “courageous act.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also traveled unannounced to Ukraine, where he met with Zelenskyy.
DEATH TOLL RISES TO 31 IN CUBA HOTEL EXPLOSION: The death toll from an explosion at a luxury hotel in Havana, Cuba, Friday had risen to 31 by Sunday evening (May 8th) as search crews continued to look for possible survivors. The five-star Hotel Saratoga was readying to reopen after being closed for two years when the powerful explosion took place, apparently triggered by a gas leak. There have also been 54 people listed as injured, with 24 of them hospitalized. As of Saturday, there had been 19 families who’d reported people missing, but authorities didn’t say Sunday whether that number had changed. Several nearby buildings were also damaged, including the historic Marti Theater and the Calvary Baptist Church, the headquarters for the Protestant denomination in western Cuba.
TWO PALESTINIANS KILLED BY ISRAELIS; SUSPECTS APPREHENDED IN STABBING ATTACK: Two Palestinians were killed by Israelis in separate incidents in the West Bank Sunday (May 8th), the latest violence in weeks of Palestinian attacks in Israel followed by Israeli military raids in the West Bank that have left 18 Israelis and more than 30 Palestinians dead. One Palestinian man was fatally shot by Israeli troops as he tried to cross Israel’s separation barrier near a military check point, and an Israeli civilian fatally shot a Palestinian 17-year-old armed with a knife who entered a West Bank settlement. The incidents came hours after Israeli police captured the two Palestinian suspects in a stabbing attack in Israel last week in which three people were killed in the city of Elad.
AMERICAN SICKENED IN BAHAMAS RESORT NOW IN U.S. HOSPITAL AFTER THREE OTHERS DIED: An American woman who became sick due to unknown causes at a resort in the Bahamas is now at a hospital in Miami, after three other Americans died, also of unknown causes. She is in serious condition. The three other Americans and the woman staying at Sandals Emerald Bay resort on Great Exuma all were stricken on Friday (May 6th), with foul play not suspected. They were found unresponsive in two villas, having shown “signs of convulsion,” but without other signs of trauma. Their identities have not yet been released. An investigation is ongoing.